A driver waiting at traffic lights goes blind. An ophthalmologist tries to diagnose his distinctive white blindness, but is affected before he can read textbooks. It becomes a contagion, spreading throughout the city. Trying to stem the epidemic, the authorities herd the afflicted into a mental asylum where the wards are terrorised by blind thugs.
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A driver waiting at the traffic lights goes blind. An ophthalmologist tries to diagnose his distinctive white blindness, but is affected before he can read the textbooks. It becomes a contagion, spreading throughout the city. Trying to stem the epidemic, the authorities herd the afflicted into a mental asylum where the wards are terrorised by blind thugs. And when fire destroys the asylum, the inmates burst forth and the last links with a supposedly civilised society are snapped. No food, no water, no government, no obligation, no order. This is not anarchy, this is blindness.
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"Extraordinary...a tour de force of thought-experiment and feeling-experiment" Observer "This is a shattering work by a literary master...a book of real stature" Boston Globe "Saramago repeatedly undertakes to unite the pressing demands of the present with an unfolding vision of the future. This is his most apocalyptic, and most optimistic, version of that project yet." Independent "He writes a prose of particularly luminous intensity, brilliantly rendered into English by his regular translator Giovanni Pontiero...Sweepingly ambitious" The Times "A powerful fable" Scotsman